Exploring the Underfall Yard, Bristol Docks

On a bright morning in March 2009 year 6 pupils (11yrs) from Hotwells Primary School walked the short distance down the hill from their school to the Floating Harbour. They carried cameras and clipboards and were accompanied by school staff as well as Ralph Hoyte, poet and Peter Milner, photographer, from Local Journeys.

At the Underfall Yard they were met by Alf Perry and given an account of the Yard's history. The Yard is at the western end of the Docks and is still a working part of the dockyard. Here boats are built and repaired by skilled craftspeople. The Yard also hosts the engine house that powers the innovative Victorian hydraulic system which has for many decades powered lock gates, swing bridges and cranes throughout the dock.

With some minimal guidance from Peter Milner the young people enthusiatically photographed boats, people and all the fascinating detail of a working environment. Ralph Hoyte encouraged the children to listen, and collect some words that expressed the character of the place.

Some excellent photographs were taken, the best were made up into photo-sheets. See below.

Ralph Hoyte also worked with the students in groups to develop some poetry, which the pupils worked on again later in classroom sessions. In a workshop about a week later Peter Milner and the children worked to combine their poems and photos into collages. These were also very successful. One was selected to become a printed postcard

Later the photographic, collage and written work was exhibited at Bristol Central Library.

Also go to Ralph Hoyte's poetry journey around the Floating Harbour

and see St Mary Redcliffe School's photo exploration in the Docks